Santa Barbara City Council’s amendment to the code requiring 10 percent inclusionary rental housing across the board still leaves a significant portion of the working poor out of the equation.
I now realize that it does not matter the percentage of inclusionary. The affordability of inclusionary does not meet the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) definition of extremely low income, which is predominantly Santa Barbara’s Spanish speaking workers and families. AUD (the city’s Average Unit-size Density program) addresses affordability in theory, but in practicality, it does not help those most vulnerable and in need of true affordability.
The solution is land banking and removing private developers out of the affordable housing business. Successful cities partner with a nonprofit community development corporation or their local housing authority to create affordable housing as a mechanism for poverty reduction.
But not in Santa Barbara. We can’t allow such democratic socialist ideas float into our money making scheme and the 70 percent over the national average real estate values that we use to suck the life out of poor people.
The AUD is a shell game and clearly an effort to serve market-rate development. In reality it shows no serious attempt to create pathways for the average low income worker to improve their quality of life, simply because 70 percent of our worker’s income pays their rent. Affordable inclusionary is intended to help the poor. What we have is a program that systematically locks the poor out.